47 Things to Do in Summerland, British Columbia

Summerland is one of those places that really does live up to its idyllic name. Sun drenched hills, vineyards and orchards slope towards the shores of immense Okanagan Lake, all backdropped by dramatic volcanic mountains.

Though a four season playground, it’s the particularly long, hot summers that are the main draw. Despite being relatively small, there’s a host of fun and interesting things to do in Summerland in the warmer months.

Elevated view of downtown Summerland with bench in foreground and lake and mountains in background
View of downtown Summerland from the Giants Head Mountain hike
Parallel lines of vineyards in Summerland, with rolling hills behind
Some of Summerland’s many vineyards
Sandy beach with two picnic tables and firepit next to calm lake in Summerland
Sun-Oka Provincial Park beach next to Okanagan Lake
Gemma walking along the Kettle Valley Railway tracks (during non-operational hours), one of the many fun things to do in Summerland
Walking on the Kettle Valley Railway (during non-operational hours) in Summerland

Living only 15 minutes from Summerland, we find ourselves exploring the area reasonably often.

This post features 40+ of our favourite things to do in Summerland, from hiking the gorgeous Kettle Valley Railway Trail and swimming in Okanagan Lake to touring wineries and picking fresh fruit and more!

Please note – at the time of writing (June 2020), some of the mentioned businesses are temporarily closed. Check online for opening times before visiting to avoid disappointment.

Annotated Google map with activities and attractions in Summerland marked
Click above to access custom Google Map featuring 40+ things to do in Summerland, BC

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How to get to Summerland, BC

Summerland is a town (pop 12,000) on the west side of Okanagan Lake in the Okanagan Valley, British Columbia. The city of Penticton is located to the south (15 minutes drive) and Peachland to the north (15 minutes).

The small community of Trout Creek borders Summerland. I’ve included local Trout Creek activities in this post too.

To reach Summerland from Vancouver, you have a choice of two main routes:

  • The fastest is the Coquihalla (Highway 5) and then the Okanagan Connector (97C). This approaches Summerland from the north, via Highway 97. Total journey time is 4hr 15 / 400km
  • The longer and slower (but quieter) route is along the Crowsnest Highway (3), switching at Keremeos to the 3A and then Highway 97 through Penticton. Total journey time is 4hr 45 / 415km

Personally, I prefer the more leisurely drive of the Crowsnest Highway (second option). E.C. Manning Provincial Park is located just over half way along the route and is an ideal place to stop for a break. Be sure to check out the Cascade Lookout for gorgeous mountain views!

JR in red kayak on calm lake with Summerland in background
Kayaking on Okanagan Lake, across from northern Summerland (Highway 97 is the road just above from the shoreline)

Things to do in Summerland

Wooden Trout Creek trestle beach with steel fences over canyon
The Trout Creek trestle, once the highest bridge on the Kettle Valley Railway

Finding adventure

Perched on the edge of Okanagan Lake and backdropped by rugged hills and mountains, Summerland is an awesome destination if you like outdoor adventure.

Gemma standing behind a fence on the summit of Giant's Head Mountain
Inland views from the summit of Giant’s Head Mountain

Summer(land) fun

True to its name, Summerland is a wonderful place to be in summer. Make the most of the hot, dry weather with the following activities:

  • Swim, sunbathe and picnic at one of Summerland’s gorgeous beaches – Peach Orchard, Rotary, Kinsmen, Powell Beach and Sun-Oka
  • Visit roadside fruit stands and pick up fresh Okanagan cherries, peaches, nectarines, apples and more – Granny’s is a favourite
  • Cruise Okanagan Lake with a rental boat, making sure to stop often for a swim!
  • Take a ride on the historic Kettle Valley Steam Railway – the only remaining operating section of the KVR
  • Cool down at the Summerland Millennium Spray Park (in Peach Orchard Park) with water cannons and 25 ground sprays
  • Enjoy a beach fire on the superbly sunny shores of Sun-Oka Provincial Park (bring your own firewood)
Two picnic tables on sandy beach with firepit next to calm lake and Naramata and Penticton beyond
Firepits at Sun-Oka Provincial Park beach

Taste local produce

Summerland is located in the heart of the Okanagan Valley, one of the best fruit growing regions in all of Canada.

Edge of green industrial building with Millionaires Row cider Co sign, tractor parked next to building
Summerland is home to four independent cideries – Millionaires’ Row is the newest

One of a kind events

Summerland’s annual events calendar features a number of unique races and celebrations. Here are just a few of my favourites for inspiration!

  • Watch runners, walkers and cyclists climb 6.6km (500m elevation) from beach to peak at the Giants Head Grind Race (May)
  • Cheer on the crazy competitors and their modified bathtub boats at the Great Ogopogo Bathtub Race (August, *next scheduled for 2021)
  • See gourds launched from a trebuchet at the annual Flamin’ Pumpkin Chunkin’ held at Saxon Winery (early November)
  • Kick off the holiday season with Light up the Vines, a tasting event along Bottleneck Drive (late November)
  • Enjoy fireworks, late night shopping, live music, street food and the Christmas light switch on at the downtown Festival of Lights (late November)
Elevated lakeshore views from the KVR Trail, one of the best things to do in Summerland
Looking back to Trout Creek from the Kettle Valley Railway Trail

Other things to do around Summerland (30km radius)

With such a central location and close proximity to Highway 97, Summerland is well within easy reach of so many other attractions in the Okanagan Valley. These are my top picks!

  • Take a relaxing float on the Penticton River Channel between Okanagan and Skaha lakes
  • Hike the ‘Little Tunnel’ section of the KVR Trail in Naramata (click for trail info)
  • Paddle or boat across to Rattlesnake Island and discover its fascinating and unique history
  • Visit the SS Sicamous, one of British Columbia’s last surviving paddle wheelers
  • Bike all the way to Penticton on the Kettle Valley Rail Trail (around 40km return)
  • Tour some of the 40+ wineries on the Naramata Bench, directly across the Okanagan Lake from Summerland
  • Hike the Pincushion Mountain Trail in Peachland to reach spectacular valley and lake views
  • Climb at Skaha Bluffs, one of Canada’s best sport climbing areas
  • Browse Penticton’s Farmers’ Market, one of the largest in British Columbia (every Saturday, spring until fall, 9am-1pm)
  • Paddle across to Okanagan Mountain Park and stay overnight at one of the marine campsites
  • Visit the Penticton sign on Munson Mountain (the views are incredible too!)
  • Go brewery hopping in Penticton – there are as many as six to choose from! (Click for full brewery guide)
  • Walk Penticton’s Okanagan Lake promenade from the SS Sicamous to the Marina, via the iconic giant Peach, Kiwanis Walking Pier and the beautiful Ikeda Japanese Garden
  • Sleep under the stars at Okanagan Lake Provincial Park (reservations recommended)

Still looking for things to do in Summerland? Read this post next:
73 Things to Do in Penticton and the Southern Okanagan, British Columbia

Fast moving creek lined by trees in Trout Creek, Summerland
Trout Creek

Where to stay in Summerland

Though a fairly small community, Summerland has a pretty varied range of accommodation.

My top pick is the Summerland Waterfront Resort and Spa. As the name suggests, the hotel is right on Okanagan Lake. All of the spacious rooms are suites with well equipped kitchens. Some suites have lake views. There’s a large seasonal pool or a beach within ten minutes walk.

Convenient and comfortable, the Rosedale Motel is ideal for budget conscious visitors. This motel also has a seasonal swimming pool.

A short drive into the hills behind Summerland is the Wildhorse Mountain Guest Ranch. There are hiking trails and horseriding opportunities right from the beautiful property. Breakfast is included with every stay.

There are also plenty of Airbnbs in Summerland, some with spectacular lake views (check out this one!) If you’ve never used Airbnb before, sign up using this link and get $62 discount from your first stay.

As an alternative, you could also stay in Peachland or Penticton. The latter has the biggest choice of accommodation and services.

Downtown houses and businesses seen from elevated lookout on Giant's Head Mountain, Summerland
Sumerland, from the Giant’s Head hike

Check out these other Okanagan Valley posts next:

A Local’s Guide to the Best Okanagan Valley Wineries, British Columbia

11 Fast and Fun Penticton Hikes, British Columbia

Okanagan Valley Road Trip, BC: What to Do and Where to Stop

A Complete Guide to Okanagan Valley Ski Resorts, British Columbia

A Wine Lover’s Guide to the Naramata Bench eBook

Summerland is one of those places that really does live up to its idyllic name. This post features 40+ of our favourite things to do in Summerland, from hiking the gorgeous Kettle Valley Railway Trail and swimming in Okanagan Lake to touring wineries and picking fresh fruit and more! offtracktravel.ca

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